U.S. Navy Assists in Egyptian Ferry Search and Rescue

Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Infrared imagery taken from a U.S. Navy P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, assisting in search and rescue operations for survivors of the Egyptian ferry Al Salam Boccaccio 98 in the Red Sea.

By Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Curt Cooper, Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

A U.S. Navy P-3 Orion from Patrol Squadron (VP) 47 Golden Swordsmen assisted search and rescue operations for survivors of the sunken Egyptian ferry Al Salam Boccaccio 98 in the Red Sea, Feb. 4. The ferry, carrying an estimated 1,400 passengers, sank about 50 miles off the coast of Egypt at approximately 2 a.m., Feb. 3. The VP-47 crew flew for almost 15 hours to assist Egyptian authorities in the search efforts. “After a thousand mile transit the aircraft was still able to provide seven-and-a-half hours of time on station looking for survivors using its infrared capability,” said Lt. Christopher Ellison, Commander Task Force 57 operations scheduling officer. “The aircraft searched for and guided ships to survivors throughout the night and into the morning. The P-3 was a vital tool to the overall rescue effort as the P-3 was the only asset capable of searching the large area for survivors in the dark.” CTF 57’s P-3 Orions are an unobtrusive force that provide a valuable service to operational commanders throughout the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command area of operations. P-3s are the over-the-horizon eyes and ears for the operational commanders both on the land and at sea. They provide key support to the overall mission of maritime security operations (MSO). MSO set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. MSO deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons, or other material.

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